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‘Shogun’ Rua targets spring UFC return, hopes for Ovince Saint Preux rematch and title shot next

'Shogun' Rua believes he deserves a shot at UFC champion Daniel Cormier.
Mauricio Rua's Instagram

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Mauricio Rua won’t be back in the Octagon any time soon because “injuries suck.”

The former UFC and PRIDE champion was forced out of a light heavyweight rematch with Ovince Saint Preux in the main event of UFC Japan in September due to a left knee injury, and expects to be back in the Octagon around April or May.

Rua spoke with the media in Brazil, a day before UFC Sao Paulo, and explained that he was willing to face Saint Preux with an injured knee and only undergo surgery after the bout, but it got worse a week before the fight, so pulling out “was the only choice I had.”

“Shogun” expects to be back in training by the end of the month, and wants his next fight to be against “OSP”.

"I’d like it to be against Saint Preux," said Rua, who lost to OSP in 2014, prior to his current three-fight winning streak over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Corey Anderson and Gian Villante. “I hope it’s against him. He’s a tough guy, I respect him, but he’s a guy I’d like to fight.”

Saint Preux went on to face Yushin Okami, as the Japanese fighter moved all the way up to 205 pounds to compete in the main event at the Saitama Super Arena, and won via first-round submission.

“Saint Preux is really strong and Okami fell into his trap, working on top,” said Rua, mentioning OSP’s Von Flue choke. “Okami probably didn’t study him that well, but a fight is a fight. I respect them both, Okami deserves a lot of respect. Saint Preux showed once again that you have to be careful with that submission.”

Hoping to meet OSP next and avenge his last loss, “Shogun” doesn’t think he’s too far away from the light heavyweight championship.

“I believe I’m close to the belt,” Rua said. “I believe I deserve to fight for the belt because of my history in MMA. I’m the athlete that’s fighting for the longest time in the division. I was the PRIDE and UFC champion, I think I deserve this chance.”

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